Ann Vasc Surg. 2020 Aug 28:S0890-5096(20)30765-2. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2020.08.085. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) predisposes to arterial and venous thromboembolic complications. We describe the clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of acute arterial ischemia and concomitant infection at the epicenter of cases in the United States.
METHODS: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection between March 1, 2020 and May 15, 2020 with an acute arterial thromboembolic event were reviewed. Data collected included demographics, anatomical location of the thromboembolism, treatments, and outcomes.
RESULTS: Over the 11-week period, Northwell Health System cared for 12,630 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A total of 49 patients with arterial thromboembolism and confirmed COVID-19 were identified. Median age was 67 years (58-75) and 37 (76%) were male. The most common preexisting conditions were hypertension (53%) and diabetes (35%). Median D-dimer level was 2673 ng/mL (723-7139). The distribution of thromboembolic events included upper 7 (14%) and lower 35 (71%) extremity ischemia, bowel ischemia 2 (4%), and cerebral ischemia 5 (10%). Six patients (12%) had thrombus in multiple locations. Concomitant deep vein thrombosis was found in 8 patients (16%). Twenty-two (45%) patients presented with signs of acute arterial ischemia and were subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19. The remaining 27 (55%) developed ischemia during hospitalization. Revascularization was performed in 13 (27%) patients, primary amputation in 5 (10%), administration of systemic tissue plasminogen activator in 3 (6%), and 28 (57%) were treated with systemic anticoagulation only. The rate of limb loss was 18%. Twenty-one patients (46%) died in the hospital. Twenty-five (51%) were successfully discharged and 3 patients are still in the hospital.
CONCLUSIONS: While the mechanism of thromboembolic events in patients with COVID-19 remains unclear, the occurrence of such complication is associated with acute arterial ischemia which results in a high limb loss and mortality.